For me, doing the Challenge on this ere forum definitely helped.
For a change, i am exploring my own ideas and taking them to a level of finality. In my head, its a big shift chasing my own ideas vs chasing someone elses iterations. Frustrating sometimes? For sure.. especially when you picture an epic shred over a piece of music and cannot pull it off. But thats part of the learning.
Listening to ones playing also pushes you to tighten up the ol chops. The playbacks dont lie.
Finally.. the challenges also opened my mind to embracing other instruments and sounds. Things i wouldnt have used in the past. Just in the last 2 challenges i used cello vsts, harmonica, tambourine and shakers.
Also been spending a whole lot more time on bass. Turns out it doesnt end up there on its own
All of these factors have certainly pushed me out of my comfort zones and got the ol creativity going. Not mention.. trying different genres and playing styles
Curiously, i find my 1st takes are the better ones.. and then i usually fix one or three things on that initial take for my final versions